Florence is described as an ‘open air museum.’ Go to this historic Italian city and it won’t take long before you realise why. The buildings, arts scene, culture and food of course – this place has got it all. It’s no wonder it attracts thousands of tourists every year. UNESCO has recognised Florence as a World Heritage Site for its beauty. So, if you’re heading to Tuscany, make sure you drop in for a look around. Here’s some top facts to help you make the most of it.
When you’re kicking off your sightseeing in Florence, your best bet is to head for the religious and historical centre – that’s the area of the Piazza del Duomo. As you head there through the streets, take a bit of time to really look around you. The buildings and marble, the churches, it’s all a symbol of how great this city’s past has been.
When you’re in the Piazza, you’ll see the striking Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore. It’s oozing with art and is crowned with an awe-inspiring dome. Nearby is the St John’s Baptistery, or the Battistero di San Giovanni as it’s known locally. It sits facing Giotto’s Bell Tower, described as a masterpiece of Florentine Gothic architecture. Take some time in this very grand looking area, there’s lots to see and admire, and you’ll learn about Florence.
If you’ve got time, head into the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore – it’s got a collection of artwork, which once sat inside the Cathedral, Baptistery and Bell Tower.
No visit to Florence is complete without a look at the Ponte Vecchio, home to historic goldsmith shops. It leads on to the Oltrarno Quarter, where you can find some masterpieces if you’re keen to check out the arts scene here. The Church of Santa Felicita, for example, has got a number of Pontormo frescoes.
Also check out the Palazzo Guadagni and the Santo Spirito Basilica – both worth a look. And just a bit further on, you’ll stumble across the Palazzo Pitti, a stunning palace with the Boboli Gardens.
Fall in love with food
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Florence. There are loads of places to eat and drink in the city and menus are mainly based on simple ingredients.
You’ll find lots of bread, olive oil and vegetables going into the dishes. For a starter, try out some cured meats. Of course, there’s a huge choice of pasta dishes. And, if you’re a meat lover, why not sink your teeth into a Florentine steak! It’s grilled before being finished off with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Got your taste buds in a frenzy? A good way to get a real taste of the city is to take a local Florence food tour.
Go art crazy
If you’re keen to absorb some more of Florence’s amazing art history, then hunt out the Uffizi Gallery. It’s home to one of the world’s most important museums. Inside, it’s a treasure trove for art lovers – with works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, along with other greats in history.
Be sure to see the Vasari Corridor, which hooks up the Gallery with the Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti.